Saturday, February 11, 2012

Week 6: Diacme Moth

Moth of the Week
Darker Diacme Moth - Diacme adipaloides (#5143)
Forewing: 10mm
Also reported from Zones 3,4
Some moths are rather vain.  Once caught and they settle down on the glass and pose pretty as can be while I get pictures and measurements.  When I go to release them they will sit on my finger and continue to pose for several minutes or more before flying off.  I have enjoyed this behavior with many of the Noctuoidea moths.  Others are a bit more finnicky and require a brief time to chill out in the freezer before they are willing to cooperate.  This week I caught a Darker Diacme that was incredibly uncooperative.  I spent nearly an hour  trying to photograph this little guy; I put him in the freezer several times, and he escaped off of the glass twice and I had to chase him down in the studio.  But in the end my persistance paid off and he settled down for a photo.  Then as promised I took him right back outside and let him go.

There are two species of Diacme that are reasonably found in Texas, Darker and Paler.  After doing some research on I believe that the key to distinguishing between these two species is by the color of the abdomen.

Samea moths are superficially similar to Diacme moths but are much lighter in the hindwing and have translucent markings.

 Salvinia Stem-Borer (S. multiplicalis) for comparison

The Setup
Things have really slowed down this week.  Most of the moths at the porch lights this week are just more of the same, and the cold front heading in this weekend means next week is likely to be slim too.  So I thought I would post a little bit about my studio set up. 

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel using the standard 55mm lens (eventually I hope to upgrade to a Macro lens) with an Eye-Fi card that cuts down on having to shuffle a card back and forth between camera and computer.

Lights: For Christmas I got a great lamp from IKEA with 6 positional LED lights.

Backdrop: I have experimented with various backdrops currently I am using a sheet of black construction paper behind a glass pane.  The glass is easy to clean and provides a nice gloss look to the image while the black paper, I feel, emphasizes the color and markings on the moths.

Other moths this week:

Southern Lappet Moth - Phyllodesma occidentis (#7686)
Forewing: 22mm
Also reported from zone 6 

This is one of the most interesting moths I have caught so far.  It's nose looks like a pig snout, and it has wing flaps.  The white "reniform" spot distinguishes this moth from the similar P. americana.

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